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Raising taxes the Arizona way

Pima County home owners are looking at higher taxes and the story behind it is everything that makes Arizona politics this comically sinister. Here's how a taxpayer protection from 1980 led to a tax hike in 2015. ... Read more»

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4 comments on this story

1
10 comments
May 8, 2015, 1:18 pm
-2 +4

Sugar Ray said no, and his voters thanked him by electing him to his first of five terms

Actually no. Voters thanked him by electing him to his second of five terms, the first of which was a partial term. Carroll has been elected to four terms as supervisor: in 2000, 2004, 2008, and 2012. His first term began by appointment in 1997, following the unexpected death of Supervisor John Even.

The peer thing is also important though, because Pima County is out of whack with other counties in property taxes because Pima is the only county without a sales tax.

Wrong. Pima County has had a 1/2 cent sales tax for transportation since 2006.

All of Pima County’s expenses get paid with property taxes — not that they haven’t tried.

Not even near true. Pima County’s expenses get paid from a diversity of funding sources that vary considerably from one department to the next. Like other counties and municipalities, Pima County’s operations are a combination of general fund, enterprise funds, special revenue funds, etc. About 60% of Pima County’s general fund revenue comes from its primary property tax. About 20% comes from state-shared revenue. The rest comes from a variety of sources, including interdepartmental charges, license and permitting fees, and many others.

In March, the Assessment Board took the quick and dirty way out and declared that any taxing jurisdiction with higher than average property taxes must pay the bill. Nice try.

There is no such entity in Arizona as the “Assessment Board.” Maybe you’re thinking of the Property Tax Oversight Commission (PTOC)? If so, they made no such declaration. The cost-shifting provisions in Section K of SB 1476, which is what you’ve quoted in the article, charge PTOC with the responsibility of determining what jurisdictions owe. But the legislature made the law; not PTOC or whatever you mean by “Assessment Board.”

Truth be told your primary tax won’t go up — but the county plan is to raise taxes for the Library District, which shows up on a separate tax bill.

Wrong. Your library tax shows up as a line item on the same bill as all your other property taxes.

2
3 comments
May 8, 2015, 7:05 pm
-0 +3

One additional historical fact re:  1978 and Prop. 13.  AZ voters had a choice between 2 competing amendments.  The one that became law, while bad, was marginally better than the Heisler Amendment which was proposed by a character named Bill Heisler (sp?) who flamed out a few years later.  He got his proposal on the ballot by getting it funded out of California.  It was terrible.  I appeared on a local talk show with then State Senator Jim Kolbe in which we discussed the way to vote.  I distinctly remember saying we were being given a choice between a rock and a hard place.  The Legislature came up with its amendment to stop the Heisler proposal but still appear to be riding the tax blocking bronco.  What we predicted would be bad for our state has certainly been true.

3
152 comments
May 10, 2015, 6:06 pm
-1 +1

My head is about to explode.

4
1 comments
May 15, 2015, 12:10 pm
-0 +1

Mr. Tater,
Thank you for pointing out a couple spots where finer points were needed.. Feel free to friend me on facebook and let me know. Always appreciate it. However a couple of your corrections are just wrong and may mislead people. Ray Carroll won a special election in 1998 after being appointed, beating Brenda Even and another guy, lesser known. I counted that as a term, using the state constitutions definition under term limits. 1998, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012. Five.Also the number I used specifically carved out the library tax. The star used the $27 figure, which would include $10 for library tax and $17 to cover new expenses. It’s the $17 tax increase that the homeowners won’t (but everyone else will) pay in most cases.
While you are correct that the county has a road program approved by voters in 2005, paid with a half cent sale tax. That money is non-existent as far as new expenses on the general fund and the county can not raise taxes to offset PRIMMARY property taxes without a unanimous board vote. Pima does not have one of those.However, that did require a brighter line, thank you. It leads to “not even near true” about all the pots of money. Correct, most revenues the county takes in are in the form of enterprise funds, grants and even sec property taxes. None of this is available for general purposes of new state mandates without cost allocation. Cost allocation itself, is a form of restricted use.
The assessment commission should have been changed to match the term oversight board. They averaged the county tax rate as a definition of peers.
I take it that you too would agree to the convoluted nature of the tax increase.
Again, thanks for reading and pointing stuff out.
Blake

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